Auction for Lågendeltaet
What is nature protection really worth?
*The auction has ended. The picture was sold for NOK 36 000,-.
We have decided to auction away the first photo from the Light Lines project in protest at the Norwegian government’s attempts to deprotect the Lågendeltaet nature reserve. 100% of the income from this auction will go to the groups fighting the proposal to build the new E6 motorway through Lågendeltaet at the political level (Lågendeltaets Venner, Naturvernforbundet and Natur og Ungdom).
Lågendeltaet is a nature reserve near Lillehammer, which is an important freshwater delta and wetland. This is a threatened type of nature that the government's own environmental directorate wants to protect. In December, that same environmental directorate advised that the motorway should not be built through the nature reserve because it was not profitable or critical to society enough to be worth fragmenting the vulnerable wetland for. They made absolutely clear the important natural value of the area and how this would be at risk if the new E6 is given permission to be built.
Espen Barth Eide (Norway’s Climate and Environment Minister) went to Montreal in December and was a key voice in getting a global deal for nature. He committed, alongside many other countries, to protecting 30% of the world's land. What is that worth when the first thing he does when he comes back to Norway is calling for a nature reserve to be deprotected in order to build a motorway?
With the Light Lines project, we are trying to symbolise how within a split second, by skiing down a mountain face with our headlamps, we humans can change wild nature. At the bottom of the mountain, when we turn off our headlamps, the wild nature goes back to the way it was, with only tracks left in the snow. However, when a politician makes the decision to change the protected status of a vulnerable nature reserve in order to build a motorway through it - that nature is destroyed forever more. When we first took the photo of Ringstind, we thought it looked like a ski resort. We joked about it, thinking that it would never happen in a national park. Now that our politicians have shown us what protected nature is worth, we are not so sure any more.
We need to show our politicians that nature has value in and of itself.